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Radiology Researchers Awarded $1.1 Million to Study Prostate and Breast Cancer

Dr. Weibo Cai and Dr. Yunan Yang recently earned grants from the Department of Defense totaling more than $1 million.


Cai, an assistant professor of radiology and medical physics at the School of Medicine and Public Health and biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was awarded an Idea Development Award from the Department of Defense's Cancer Research Program.


His proposal was granted a $654,000 budget. A total of 806 applications were received by the Prostate Cancer Research Program, and only 6 percent of them were recommended for funding.

The objective of Cai's project is to develop an arsenic-based radiopharmaceutical platform for IGF1R-targeted imaging and therapy of prostate cancer.


Ultimately, the agents developed in this proposal will be able to identify the right prostate cancer patient population for the right therapy at the right time, as well as to provide quantitative, non-invasive and accurate information about the therapeutic responses in real time.


The co-investigator on this grant is Dr. Todd E. Barnhart (medical physics). Collaborators on this project include Dr. George Wilding (director of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center), Dr. David F. Jarrard (John Livesey Chair in urologic oncology), Dr. Robert J. Nickles (medical physics) and Dr. Ajit K. Verma (human oncology).

Additionally, Yang, a research associate in Cai's laboratory, was chosen to receive a Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the DoD's Breast Cancer Research Program. This proposal was given an approximate budget of $445,000. Only 9.6 percent of the total 303 postdoctoral fellowship applications received by the Breast Cancer Research Program were recommended for funding.

The objective of Yang's project is to develop a biodegradable zinc oxide nanomaterial platform for efficient vasculature targeting of breast cancer metastasis, and to optimize its optical property and conjugation chemistry for non-invasive dual-modality tracking (positron emission tomography and optical).


Metastases are the cause of 90 percent of human cancer deaths. Sixty percent to 70 percent of patients who die of breast cancer eventually have metastases in their lungs. Ultimately, the biocompatible, "deliver and dissolve" zinc oxide nanomaterials will deliver various anti-cancer agents to the tumor sites with low systemic toxicity, thereby controlling the growth of cancer cells and eventually eradicating breast cancer.


Collaborators on this project include Dr. Xudong Wang (material science and engineering), Dr. Wei Xu (McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research), Nickles and Barnhart.

Date Published: 04/22/2011

News tag(s):  researchfacultygrantsradiologycancer

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Radiology Researchers Awarded $1.1 Million to Study Prostate and Breast Cancer
Last updated: 04/22/2011
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